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Title II Judges Could Mean ‘Advantage, ISPs’

Cable operators now know which judges they must convince that the Federal Communications Commission’s Title II reclassification of Internet access should be invalidated, and two of them recently have ruled against the FCC.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the three-judge panel to hear the Dec. 4 oral argument in the Title II challenge will be Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan and Senior Circuit Judge Stephen Williams.

Tatel was on the panel that vacated the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet order for insufficient legal justification, and Srinivasan was on the panel that rejected the FCC’s third-party protective orders in the AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger reviews, again for insufficient justification.

An executive with one of the challenging parties liked their odds with that lineup, saying, “Advantage, ISPs,” referring to Internet service providers. But an attorney on the other side of the issue disagreed, saying Srinivasan is new, with an insufficient track record; that Tatel, from the previous Internet-neutrality decision, is likely to be open to a Title II approach, and that Williams could well give deference to the FCC decision.

The court has also given ISPs and the FCC all the time they asked for to present their challenge. They get a total of two hours of argument in the case — an hour for the FCC and an hour for its challengers, divided into three parts dealing with various issues and challenges to the rules. Said issues include that the rules violate the First Amendment and that they did not go far enough.

If either side does not like the decision that comes out of that three-judge panel, and obviously one side won’t, it can appeal the decision to the full court.

Online ‘Dingellgram’ Arrives at C-SPAN: ‘I’m Actually Young’

Howard Mortman, director of communications for C-SPAN, tweeted last week that he had discovered that the oldest living former member of the House was 101 years (and 38 days) old.

That drew a response from the longest-serving House member ever, recently retired Michigan Democrat John Dingell, former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce committee, which oversees communications.

“See, I’m actually quite young,” the 89-yearold Dingell tweeted back in response to Mortman.

For the record, that oldest living member, according to the Wikipedia list Mortman was referencing, is Ken Hechler, also a Democrat, who represented West Virginia from 1959 to 1977.

Dingell, who retired at the end of the last Congress after almost 60 years in the House, doesn’t even make the top 60 oldest living House members, according to Wikipedia, which has him at number 67.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.